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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 5, 2015 7:00pm-7:31pm EDT

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controlled areas. thursdayabout this on after the first day of russian bombing runs in syria. they had not taken any strikes where there were confirmed i confirmed isil forces. there is no indication that the russians have changed their strategy to concentrate on isil territory. they are focusing on territories are opposed to their regime, which may include some extremists. they do not necessarily include isil territories. >> our troops moving into the province? can theou can't -- what
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russians do before the united states does something else to counter it? or is all of this allowable and all right? josh earnest: first, as it relates to the turkish airspace incursion. the united states and our allies have been active on this discussion. it is fair to say the united states and our nato allies are quite concerned about the provocation. when it comes to the russians, the real risk that is taken here is the risk being taken by the russians. they are involving themselves into a civilply inside syria. again, you don't just have to take my word for it. this is consistent with the
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public statements of the leaders of many of our 65 nations who are part of our counter isil coalition. just looking at the facts on the ground. russia is ramping up their support for assad. they are carrying out strakes against opponents of the regime. they appear to be, based on reports, essentially colluding with the iranians to carry out this military activity. what that does is, it more deeply involves russia in a civil war that isolates them from the international community even further than they already are. it poses a significant risk to russia. as moderate sunnis inside of syria see that they are aiding and abetting, if not caring out
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strikes against other sunnis inside of syria, russia becomes anger.get of that that poses risks to russia, not just inside of syria, but also inside of russia, where there is a significant muslim population. it also puts further off into the distance the kind of political transition the russians and knowledge were necessary to -- the russians acknowledged themselves were necessary to accomplish their goals. >> so their goal is to prop up the regime? and colluding, as you put it, or allying themselves to iran? thehere a point at which united states sees this and puts pressure on the russians? is there a line that the russians cannot cross before it becomes problematic? josh earnest: as i mentioned in
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before, the united states would like to see a political transition inside syria as well. there is no denying that russia's active military involvement to prop up the assad regime puts that political transition farther into the distance. but again, that is going to be a significant problem for russia. it will isolate them. it'll put them knee deep in a syrian conflict. it will give them the task of something they know, based on their own previous experience inside of afghanistan four decades ago, is impossible -- trying to impose a military solution on this problem. there is no military solution, russian or otherwise inside of syria. bill not succeed on solving their problems by imposing a military solution. if anything, they will make their problems worse.
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>> want to go back to the issue of guns. what is different with the gun debate then when bill clinton was president? april, i think we've seen there is broad support across the country for closing the gun show loophole. the gun show loophole is a loophole that exists that makes it easier for criminals, those problems, and others who should not be able to get access to guns to be able to buy them. the vast majority of americanss why, the majority of republicans, certainly the majority of democrats, even the majority of gun overs, support closing deadly pool. what we have not yet seen
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however, is sufficient intensity among proponents of closing the loophole to overcome the concentrated advocacy of a minority of others. others who have been successful in making their voices known as the congress. this is not a partisan issue. has alsol minority successfully pressured democrats in congress to prevent action on closing this loophole. that is why you heard the president of service in his public statement last week, that it may be time for some voters to decide they are single issue voters and are ready to prioritize this issue over the others. that will ultimately, it will have to be the decision that is made i voters across the
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country. for them to demonstrate the same kind of passion that opponents to closing the loophole have also showed. what about the issue of, you said the same thing within the past few years, the broad support from both sides when it comes to background checks. we hear the broad support, but when it comes to getting it done, it does not happen. what do you say to that? josh earnest: i think the president spoke here on thursday pretty powerfully about that. he indicated that what we need to see is voters all across the country stand up and speak out with the kind of passion we see on the other side. >> the day of the shooting in i said, doeseek,
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it make a difference in the past few years when it comes to getting the public to stand up. would you say to that question at? the white house is working with these groups. certainlyst: we welcome the efforts of a variety of groups to mobilize support for closing the gun show loophole. we cane effectively mobilize support to give guns out of the hands of criminals, the more likely we are to see the congressional action supported by people all across the country. >> this could be a legacy. priority is this for him? josh earnest: it is a high priority and will continue to be in till we see more progress.
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>> what is he come down on -- josh earnest: i have been given the opportunity over the course to offerst year or two my own advice to the media. and have pretty consistently declined to do so. you are all well positioned to factor in the range of in decidingns whether or not to name the individual who carried out this terrible attack in oregon last week. i will allow all of you to make that decision in a way that you believe suits the interests of your organization and readers and reviewers. >> want to make sure he understand on afghanistan.
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you said there were three ongoing investigations. josh earnest: think it was a theession of support for three ongoing investigations. an expression of confidence in those investigations. they will have the access and information that is necessary to arrive at the full accounting of what occurred of the president asked for. saying that they are happy with the three investigations. you don't favor that? you favored letting these three run their course? josh earnest: the president said over the weekend that he wanted a full accounting of what transpired with this incident in afghanistan. byve confidence that conducting these three investigations, the full accounting will be reached.
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>> he said it set a dangerous precedent to allow the discrimination against agricultural product. mitch mcconnell previously issued -- he was very upset about the potential for tobacco probations. i'm wondering what you have to say about that and whether you --nk josh earnest: the position on this has been an acknowledgment that tobacco poses a unique challenge to public health. that is wife we work to include in the final tpp agreement and exclusive recognition that individual countries help authorities have the right to adopt tobacco could show measures to protect public health. that is the approach we have country.this
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the ability of individual countries to put in place priorities -- in place policies that prioritize the health of their citizens. that is what we say in this agreement. the votes you need to get a deal. josh earnest: sunning a bad deal just so it can pass through congress will never be part of our equation. he threatenedeek over spending levels. does your previous veto still stand on that? josh earnest: i think we will consider one at a time. as a relates to the one proposal that has been put forward by congress so far.
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that is a legislation the president would veto. it includes an irresponsible way for funding our core national defense priorities. have refer toans this as a gimmick. it is irresponsible and is not the most effective way to provide for the national defense of the united states. it is not the most effective way for us to show our support to the men and women in uniform. you are doing their jobs. it is time for congress to there's -- to do theirs. it is time to pass a budget that reflects the economic status of the country. the mbaa does not do that. we include proposals that will
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make it harder to close the prison in guantanamo bay. that is something that we strongly oppose. >> you are not reissuing the veto threat from a couple months ago? veto threat: the was based on a previous version of the mbaa and so, it still stands in case that was resuscitated. the current version is something the president would veto simply because of the irresponsible way it funds the national defense priority. but also because of the efforts to prevent the closure of the prison in guantanamo bay. our position on this does not change. we continue to feel strongly on this. this is what distinguishes this from previous years. he some the boat we saw on the house of representatives, there are actually enough democrats in the house to sustain the president's veto. republicans will need to find a way to work with democrats to put forward a national defense
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authorization act that will earn not just the support of congress, but the support of the commander-in-chief. limit ande about the other issues on corporations coming to a head in the next couple months. the president has said, i'm not giving you anything for it. how worried are you? josh earnest: that would be unfortunate. that is not what the vast majority of the american public is looking for. most americans are ready for members of congress to do their jobs. part of the job of a member of
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congress is to vote for and pass a budget for the federal government. the american people are counting on them to take that action because failing to pass that budget will result in a government shutdown. we know that is not good for the economy. there is also ample data out show the shutdown of the government costs more money than keeping the government open. the true aim here of republicans to save money, if that is true, then the best thing they can do is to do their jobs. the stakes are even higher thegh for the u.s. in global economy. there is significant risk associated with messing around with the debt limit. essentially as a
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political football in the midst of a contested leadership race. that would satisfy the requirements of describing something as monkeying around. it is not responsible and it is not what the american people expect of their elected representatives in congress. it is the rhetoric we hear from republicans a lot. congress should get out of the way so that the american people can succeed. this is an example of the good way the americans -- the republicans can just get out of the way. sure the debt limit does not inject the kind of volatility into the u.s. financial market that we do not need right now. >> if the economy is really that
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impressed, is there anything the president would be willing to do to get it done? josh earnest: the president has said this many times. there will be no negotiating over the debt limit. that is the responsibility of the united states congress and that is what we expect them to do. when it comes to reaching a bipartisan budget agreement, those capitol hill have four months. that is something republicans resisted for quite some time. because ultimately, we know that is the only way. republicans will not be able to succeed in passing a budget along party lines. it will have to find a way to work with democrats to put proposal that will get bipartisan support. that will be signed by the president into law. there is a lot of of work for the members of congress to get going on. speaking of congress.
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last week on friday the secret member joe clancy said he was changing the narrative. is it acceptable to the president? changing his story on this? josh earnest: i think what director clancy indicated, after reviewing the a port, he had better information to provide them. to his credit, he proactively reached out to both of the inspector general and to to love them no. that is what he did. i will say the president takes this seriously. this is sensitive information we are talking about and the fact that something like this will be politicized is wrong. the president does have
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confidence that following up on the information included within the inspector general report that secretary johnson and director clancy will ensure steps are taken, both to prevent the disclosure of this kind of information in the future, but hold accountable those who have engaged in this kind of wrongdoing. the congressman spoke with cnn this morning. he said he would like to see a criminal investigation open into this. he says he feels violated. if the white house open to that? -- is the white house open to that? josh earnest: i think we said quite clearly. this kind of conduct that take sensitive information and uses it for political purpose is wrong. decisions about investigating criminal conduct are decisions that are made by prosecutors over the department of justice.
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that would not want to say anything that might influence a decision might that. i will reserve judgment on whether or not a criminal prosecution like that is appropriate that will be a decision for someone else ultimately. >> he spoke about kevin mccarthy and the mccarthy committee. mccarthy's comments last week about the benghazi committee. hillary clinton will appear before the committee later this month. as the white house have an opinion about whether or not she should continue to appear before the committee later on this month? josh earnest: that is a decision for she enter campaign to make. the only reason we are having is because oneon of the leading house republicans acknowledged that the goal here was to try and drive down her poll numbers. i think the fact that the broadly hason
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worked in good faith to cooperate with the investigation, i think is an indication of how far we are willing to go cooperate with congressional oversight. even own concerns are raised about the true intent of that committee. concerns that are raised about the public statements of the likely next speaker of the house. the administration continues to cooperate with that committee. >> so that will continue? aside whether secretary clinton should appear, the white house continues to cooperate with the committee and provided the information it needs? josh earnest: my observation last week that leader mccarthy had committed classic washington gaff, saying in public the thing everyone knows is true. i think the point i am trying to make here is that we have known
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for a long time that the motives of the benghazi committee were not pure. knowledge, we have continued to cooperate with them. future,do that in the even though leader mccarthy has made that pretty embarrassing for many of the republicans on the committee. guns.tly, getting back to it sounds pretty clear that legislation is not going to go anywhere because of the political climate and washington as it stands right now. the president spoke about using the bully pulpit. i would imagine that opens up the possibility of summits meeting of families, perhaps traveling to places where these mass shooting incidents have occurred. are any of these possibilities for the president on his radar screen in the coming months? the shooting, when happens, he will come out to the
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podium and talk about it? i would not rule out any of the things you have described. the fact that whenever the president has something to say in public that all of you are there to cover it and to make sure that your readers and viewers understand it, that is a pretty significant authority invested in the presidency. the president will use that authority to make clear that he believes congress needs to take some common sense steps to make a gun violence less frequent in this country. the president is under no illusions that there is a lot that can be passed that will prevent every incident of gun violence. there is surely is something congress can do to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and others who should not have them. that will have a corresponding these on the frequency of kinds of incidents. it certainly will have an impact those shooting incidents that did not get as much intention
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get as muchot attention. what happened in oregon was a genuine tragedy and it has touched many lives. we see this kind of gun violence in communities all across the country every single day. congress can do something to at least partially address that without threatening or undermining the basic constitutional rights to law-abiding americans is a profound disappointment to the president. he is not alone. there are millions of americans, democrats and republicans, that are disappointed by congressional inaction in this regard. >> you don't expect to have any further conversations with congressional leaders about any possible packages? josh earnest: i would not ruled out something like that, but the reason i would not rule out something like that is because the president is
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willing to work with democrats and republicans to try and get this done. there is no reason this has to be a political or partisan issue. i think the president has made clear that his concerns on this matter extent to some democrats as well. the president certainly does not view this as a political partisan issue. this would certainly be in the category of things that are far too important for partisan political consideration. >> the vice president could make a decision in the next week or 10 days on whether he'll run for the presidency. indicationve us any whether or not the president will be meeting with him and what does that timeline sound like to you? josh earnest: we studiously avoided weighing in on the vice president's liberations. many have speculated that this is something the president and the vice president had periodically have the
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opportunity to talk about. i'm not privy to those conversations, but i would not be surprised if the person who oas won the last tw presidential elections was consulted before the vice president made a decision to participate in the next one. but ultimately, the timeline for making the decision is something that vice president biden will beside. given his career and the influence he has on the democratic party, he certainly is entitled to all the time he believes necessary to make that decision. the president and vice president typically have lunch on a weekly basis when both of them are in town. if that is something that occurs, we will make sure you all are at least aware of it. but do not anticipate we will have much of a readout of those private conversations. >> to something you said on syria in regards to the incursion by russian warplanes, he said he was quite concerned
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about this. any sense that this is anything other than an intentionally provocative action? josh earnest: given the stakes thethe sensitivity around russian military action in that region of the world, i think our concerns are well-founded. these are concerns that will continue to be discussed with turkey and the other nato allies. again, this summit will continue to discuss. ttp. the he said there was similar outcry positions in other state lawmakers. he said earlier it was just the way it is.
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is there a strategy to get any congress members on board? josh earnest: when it comes to the auto industry and expanding u.s. auto exports, we have quite a strong case to make when it -- to the ttp.e cut the 30% card tariff in malaysia and the 70% card tariff in vietnam. those are countries where you have a large and growing middle class. that makes good markets for selling automobiles. and theed states negotiators who represented our interests at the table are keenly aware of that. that is why there is a priority that was placed on trying to cut those tariffs so the u.s.
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,utomakers would have access better access, to those markets. if you're able to cut the 30% car tariff and malaysia and the 70% car tariff in vietnam, you can sell more cars. that is the point here. you can create significant opportunity for american workers making those cars. that has been the goal of this particular agreement and that is the case that we will make to the senators and members of congress that are representing states with significant manufacturing presences. that is the case we will make, but ultimately, individual members of congress will have to make up their own mind. >> the european union trade minister spoke about the ttp.

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